Hi! That’s me^^^in the blue, pictured with my two monster older brothers and our lovely parents 🙂
On a typical day you can find me searching pictures of Goldendoodle puppies on Google, cracking up with my mom about something that normal people probably wouldn’t find even remotely funny, quoting Grey’s Anatomy and Harry Potter (have gone through each series about 15 times), or hanging out with kiddos.
My brother, Brady, graduated from UW-Madison, I graduated from high school, and my parents moved from Chicago to Philly. As both my brothers went to school in the Midwest and I was starting at Villanova in the fall, it was just me and the parents at the new house.
Moving was hard. It was lonely, and painful, and I felt as if everything that I knew to be true had been ripped out from underneath me. I got lost driving to get gas; cashiers at the grocery store didn’t converse with you like they do in the Midwest; our new house was half the size and that meant getting rid of half of our stuff; and the only two people I talked to for two months were my mom and dad. I missed being able to drive 10 houses down to hang out with my friends – I missed just seeing people my own age! All my friends were back home – they got to experience the “summer before college” together. And I was going through my sock drawer to get rid of old socks.
I was really excited when school finally started. I LOVED my roommates. (Shoutout Erin and Lauren!!) . We had so much fun together that we got in trouble one night for laughing too loud. We were silly and carefree and we were THERE for each other. They reminded me what it was like to have friends and feel loved.
I came down with it about two weeks into freshman year. I spent a weekend at home – I slept from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. My body was covered in this crazy rash and my tonsils made it impossible to swallow. I ended up having to go the hospital for IV fluids because my fever was so high and I couldn’t consume anything because of my throat. After a few days, the pain in my throat and the fever went away, so I returned to school.
Freshman year alone, I had about 5 sinus infections and came down with strep 5 times. I tried my best to stay social, but my life mainly consisted of doing my work and getting enough sleep. (Also, thank GOODNESS for my roommates, I don’t know how many times they would bring me soup or Gatorade when I couldn’t get out of bed or just listened to me when I didn’t think I could go on living like this.) I ended freshman year with a good GPA, and was just really glad to have a break.
After the summer, I thought I had seen the last of what mono was doing to my body. Sophomore year started and I was just ready to be a normal 19 year old. However, my body ached. All the time. And I was tired. So tired. I was in the two hardest classes of my major (orgo and genetics…), so my life basically consisted of study and sleep. Some days were so bad that I couldn’t get out of bed. I would miss class, and get behind, and get stressed. Stress would cause my sickness to flare up, and I would miss more class, need more sleep, get even more behind, and even more stressed. I fell into this vicious cycle and became so angry that my body was betraying me.
But now I just felt like I was drowning. I didn’t know who I was. My identity was sick. The only people I talked to were my roommate (shoutout Caitlyn, you have NO idea how much I appreciate you) and my parents – I spent most days crying to them on the phone. I didn’t want to study; what was the point in trying to catch up if I was already so behind? I had a 4.5 GPA in high school. School was my sport, and I was really good at it. Now I didn’t even want to open my textbooks.
Who was I becoming? I didn’t know. But I didn’t like it. I felt numb to the world, and everything that I once was felt very, very far away. So that’s when my parents and I made the decision to take the next semester off. I needed the time to get healthy again but most importantly to find myself.
I took the time off school to get my wisdom teeth (which were causing my sinus infections) and my tonsils and adenoids removed (which were probably causing everything else). I no longer have the mononucleosis virus in my blood, and haven’t felt “sick” since January.
The rest of my time has been spent exploring my different passions (music, art, children, and FAMILY), and quietly discovering new things about myself each day. I still struggle, oh boy do I still struggle. But now I embrace my struggles and see them as challenges that I work hard to overcome. While I am nowhere near where I want to be, I am proud to say that each day my overall mood and self esteem get better.
Through my journey, I have begun to realize that whole food gives you a whole life. I wrote a whole post about the Whole30, a 30-day diet program that frees you from food forever (their words 🙂 ), what I learned from it, and why you should do it. Check that out here 😉
I think the most important thing I learned in my two years of being sick is the value of family and friendship. I don’t take a single person for granted anymore, and I try to let each of my loved ones know just how much they mean to me as much as I can. I want each of my readers to feel as if they are reading handwritten notes from a friend, and I want everyone to know that I am here. For a shoulder to cry on, a friend to lean on, for any kind of advice you need. Always feel free to contact me for questions or just to say hi. I love meeting and hearing from new people. I love you all!!
All good things are wild and free.